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GSoD Claims American Democracy is ‘Backsliding,’ Blames Trump

GSoD Claims American Democracy is ‘Backsliding,’ Blames Trump

In an annual report titled The Global State of Democracy 2021 (GSoD), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance lists the United States among nations that are experiencing a “backslide” in democracy.

The GSoD defines “backsliding democracies” as those “that have experienced gradual but significant weakening of Checks on Government and Civil Liberties…This is often through intentional policies and reforms aimed at weakening the rule of law and civic space.”

According to the report, American democracy has fallen “victim to authoritarian tendencies” due to election disinformation, voter discontent, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Misinformation about election fraud spread by former president Donald Trump was a “historic turning point” that undermined public trust in the electoral process not only in the United States but also in Brazil, Mexico, Myanmar, Peru, and other countries.

According to the GSoD, more than two-thirds of the world’s population live in backsliding democracies or autocratic regimes. Backslides typically result in a complete breakdown of democracy or resolve on their own about 10 years after the backslide beings, notes the report.

The GSoD also cites a decline in “clean elections” and political activism in the US, the latter of which is said to have ebbed as more Americans distrust the media and view the government as unable to address society’s needs. Other factors contributing to this decline include new election laws (laws enacted by GOP-led states to enhance election security) and the pandemic, which forced democracies to “hold minimally adequate elections” and tempted executives to “deploy wide-ranging emergency powers to confront the calamity that had befallen the world.”

Other key points from the report include:

  • The pandemic has contributed to a global shift away from democracy and towards authoritarianism as governments take advantage of the pandemic to limit citizens’ rights.
  • In 2020, there were more nations moving in an authoritarian direction during any time since 1970. 
  • Contributing to this shift in governance is social media (which can exacerbate polarization among a population), fake news/disinformation, and economic inequality.
  • Myanmar is perhaps the most tragic victim of this shift, having experienced a military coup that defeated the nation’s fledgling democracy. 
  • In many backsliding democracies, there is significant popular support for elected governments to utilize authoritarian tactics. 
  • People living in democracies are losing faith in the election process. 
  • Authoritarianism is also increasing in non-democracies, such as China, whose government is utilizing technology to maintain control over its populace. 
  • The uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will have longstanding effects on public health and basic freedoms. 
  • More than 80% of nations worldwide have experienced protests during the pandemic. 

The GSoD ends on a positive note, framing the present as a golden opportunity for democracies to take action and rethink the connections between people and institutions. To reverse the trend towards authoritarianism, the GSoD recommends a three-point strategy in which government institutions are called on to rethink social contracts, modernize political parties and electoral procedures, and invest in democracy education. 

The GSoD is an annual report that examines 29 attributes and sub-attributes based on data from 165 nations dating back to 1975. You can read the full report by clicking the link below:

The Global State of Democracy 2021: Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era 

Additional Source:

US Added To Annual List of ‘Backsliding’ Democracies For First Time 

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  1. Dan Tyree

    Trump stood up for a free America

  2. frank stetson

    And that was a real accomplishment for Trump to stand up.

    Although I think Alice’s post says exactly the opposite and Dan, of course, has absolutely nothing to offer. Let the name calling begin!!!!

    • Theodore Sueck

      Dan is correct in his post, and as usual, frank is completely off base with his one sided, lopsided view of things. The current resident of the White House definitely doesn’t stand for a free America (when he can stand without falling on his keester).

  3. Joe

    The 2020 election was filled with fraud, in not just the swing states but all over the country, in blue states, and some red states. Until voting roles are changed, especially mail=in=voting, which needs to be stopped, except for the disabled,elderly,which it was intended for. It is to easy to cheat, with no security measures for people and mail=in=ballots, and the dumbocraps have the cheating down to a science. So if changes aren’t made we all get cheated. The voter roles need to be cleaned up,with deceased voters removed from them,and people who have moved to other places.

  4. Frank stetson

    Joe lives in a fantasy world. He has no proof. His party has no proof. Continue to bay at the moon like a dog.

    Ted, great last name, does not make sense. I agree with alice and he says I am one-sided, go figure. How is America less free under Biden than under Trump? Apparently alice noted the report says differently. And all you got is NO; at least alice provided more support than hot air and howls.

    You are ineffective in your arguments or lack thereof.

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      Alice, this is actually a good article – informative, reporting the facts, no dishonest headline, and no partisan summary at the end.

      I would take exception to a couple of points – you write that “GSoD also cites a decline in “clean elections” and political activism in the US, the latter of which is said to have ebbed as more Americans distrust the media and view the government as unable to address society’s needs”

      The report does cite a decline in clean elections, but regarding the USA on that point only mentions Trump’s role in calling the elections rigged. However, the report praises political activism, while your article represents it as part of the decline. From the report: “Politically engaged consumers have driven multinational private companies to protest against restrictions on voting rights in the United States, promote voting among their staff and support the Black Lives Matter movement.” It described the BLM protests as “more capable of catalysing society’s demands without formal political representation.”

      The report also praises US actions since Biden has been in office: ‘There are tentative signs of new geopolitical alliances in which some countries—for example, Sweden, and recently the USA—are making democracy a foreign policy priority.” In addition, it lauds countries that have adopted early and mail voting. This is contrary to Republican laws springing up wherever they have the majority to limit voting rights.

      Trump actions are mentioned several times as contributing factors to the US backslide: “doctors and other medical staff who had been instructed not to speak with journalists. In some cases, those who flouted this order lost their jobs.” and also that the political disinformation “attack on common political knowledge that threatens the quality of democracy can be found in the wave of disinformation targeting votecounting in the USA … presidential elections.” The report attributed the backslide of a half-dozen countries as a direct results of Trump’s constant false and unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud.

      There’s also a textbook description of the Republican playbook of gerrymandering and voter suppression attempts: “Backsliding democracies use parliamentary majorities, obtained by initially free and fair elections and high levels of electoral support, to gradually dismantle checks on government, freedom of expression, a free media and minority rights from within the democratic system. This process of democratic backsliding is often gradual, taking an average of nine years from the onset of backsliding until it ends in either a democratic breakdown or a return to democratic health.”